I really hate repairing white goods
I promised to say what happened to our
washing machine so here goes.
The thing had got noisier and noisier over the last few months
until even Victor our pet vole, who lives in a hamster cage in
the utility room, kept popping out to see what was going on.
As I've fixed a few itinerant washing machines with duff bearings
over the last 35 years I'd already bought a set of bearings and
seals and a new spider in case things went wrong. Our first machine
was gas powered and had an agitator which you turned by hand.
It never went wrong.
Modern machines are really unreliable...
The first problem with this one was working out whether the securing
nut for the main pulley was right or left-hand threaded.
After bashing it with a chisel in both
directions in turn I found it was an ordinary right-hand thread.
Next I found I couldn't pull off the pulley.
I puzzled over this for some time after
the mightiest blows with a huge hammer with a big puller straining
its utmost failed to budge it one iota.
Of course it was screwed onto the shaft.
The penny dropped when I noticed the absence of a key. The ones
that are pressed on have a hardened steel key fitted in a slot
and there was no sign of either here.
After severely denting the pulley, but thankfully not having
rendered it unserviceable I got it off and then removed the door,
door seal and the front of the machine. I was then able to remove
the stainless steel drum.
I left Jeremy my number two son to detach
the spider and fit the new one.
The bearings pressed out reasonably
easily although one needs to be a contortionist to get into the
right position to wield a hammer to bash them out.
Everything went together and the machine was soon completed and
the drum revolving sweetly without accompanying rumble.
What had we forgotten to do?
The machine was always one for leaping up and down when spinning
but it was now especially awful.
I'm sure it would have been better if we'd spent a couple of
minutes getting the new spider central.
As it was it was probably off-centre and of course horribly unbalanced.
To compensate I tightened up the springs holding the top of the
drum but it still makes horrendous banging noises as the whole
assembly moves several inches in all directions at peak revs.
It'll have to wait until the bearing seals fail again.
A couple of weeks later the drum wouldn't
rotate because the motor had stopped working...
I took off the top of the machine and
poked at the motor wiring with a stick.
There were lots of sparks and it suddenly
Years ago I'd had to fit a strain relief
system consisting of bits of string and black tape.
This was because the drum and motor
move around a lot and the wiring is fastened to the side of the
machine and is stationary.
The resultant fatigue in the wiring
meant that bits kept breaking and the continual to and fro movement
caused the various fastons to keep falling apart.
The latest problem was a faston clip
on one of the brushes which had opened up allowing the circuit
I detached the clip, squeezed it with
pliers then reconnected it.
Now the machine works OK again
... at least until next time.
Well it went wrong again.
This was not too long and I reckon to
have only been resting on my laurels about 3 weeks when the motor
stopped turning the drum.
Poking at the motor with a stick brought
it back to life and a set of new brushes fixed the problem. Despite
the fact that the thing is getting on in years the new parts
were made to a new design. Perhaps after 15 years a design fault
had finally been picked up?
Another few weeks and it went wrong
again. This time the confounded thing had filled up with water...
A large puddle had collected in front
of the machine and a little later it was about to float out the
door when my better half noticed and set it to "Spin".
She's had years of experience with faulty
washing machines and was able to get the thing empty, knowing
that the pump operated during the spin cycle.
It didn't entirely empty itself and
we couldn't get the door open. The reason for this is a small
pipe carrying a little pressure from the water level in the drum
which is a safety feature preventing one from opening the machine
when its full of water.
Having seen this fault before in another
make of washing machine I disconnected the tube at the bottom
of the pressure operated switch. This is a round pancake affair
with lots of fastons grouped round its flat surface and handles
the switching of the incoming water for filling the drum. I blew
down the tube and I heard air coming out somewhere in the bowels
of the machinery. "At least it wasn't blocked with gunge",
I thought, and reconnected it. I checked the little fastons on
the sensor. Most were loose and flopped around. I removed each
in turn and tightened them with pliers before refitting.
I plugged everything in and refitted
the top. I didn't fit the rear panel because, firstly the nut
on the back of the drum has a habit of banging it when spinning
wildly and secondly its now so loose it makes a dreadful rattling
noise and keeps Victor from enjoying his snooze.
I switched on and the machine filled
There had been two clues which I figured
out over the next couple of days.
First... why was the sensing tube free
to allow me to blow down it when the drum had a lot of water
in it? There had been sufficient water present to prevent me
opening the door so I should have heard bubbling not air escaping.
Second... there had been a continuously
growing puddle in front of the machine from the start of filling
with water, not just when it was overflowing.
I pulled the machine out, tilted it
forwards and lay underneath with a torch. At last I found a small
plastic cylinder fitted under the drum and having two vertical
inlet pipes. One connected to a pipe going to the door lock and
the second.... didn't have anything connected.
After groping around the innards I retrieved
the end of a plastic tube which with some difficulty managed
to push onto the spare inlet pipe.
All was well till next time.The motor
I took off the top of the machine and
poked at it with a stick.
It started again so I peered at it.
One of the plastic brush holders had
I bought some new brushes and fitted
It was OK again....
The end of the story is nigh.
A friend offered me his old washing
It had just flooded the kitchen when
it wouldn't stop filling and his wife insisted he went out and
bought a new one.
He said it was alright the next day
but the ultimatum had stood so it was now mine if I collected
We've been using it for a month or so
and it has it's little foibles. It often stops before the wash
cycle is complete and flashes one of its dozens of lamps. Scrutiny
of the instruction book tells us to fish out a special drain
tube at the front and empty water from the pump compartment.
It says the pump has stopped because of a piece of debris.
Remove the panel, fish out the drain
tube, spend ages draining into a container 0.5 inches in height
and sometimes it starts to work again. Usually it doesn't.
Despite it's weight... if you rock it
backwards and forwards it sometimes starts to work.
The pump isn't jammed and there's no
debris visible but it still doesn't work.
I thought about it for a while..
Maybe the circuit that detects there's
no water left after the drain cycle isn't working?
I removed the top and the back and peered
In our old machine the pressure sensor
was always failing. The end of the plastic tube was always getting
blocked. When this happened the machine filled and filled and
filled until it nearly exploded with the pressure of water inside.
Maybe this one is different.
It's a Siemens. Inside is beautifully
designed. Compared with the old Hotpoint this one is a Rolls
Royce of washing machines!
The pressure sensor is at the top of
the machine and connects with a rubber tube to a funny plastic
box at the bottom of the drum.
I positioned the machine so I could
get at the box and found it could be detached quite easily.
As I removed it I discovered the entry
to the box was completely bunged up with a thick gungy whitish
After removing and cleaning the box,
I put it all back together and now I'm waiting to see if the
next wash works OK.....